Who Killed Creativity? How Can We Get Creativity Back?

Creative Ideas for Innovation in Business and Beyond

Dec 22nd, 2015

Raising the political agenda: Innovation initiatives from the top

Australia has a new Prime Minster. Again. After four Prime Ministers in as many years, there finally seems to be a leader who has taken the helm who is taking a proactive rather than reactive stance to national issues. This Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, has kicked off his term with a strong innovation initiative.

Sitting in a group of two hundred or so people at a recent meeting to launch the initiative , one sensed a slightly uncertain air of expectation. We had come together to hear the details of PM Turnbull’s business baby, the National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA). However, although  the agenda had only been released the week before, it was going to take a lot more information  and the opportunity to be able to actively question the measures in public before people would become convinced of its efficacy.

In brief, NISA aims to reconcile the aims of private and public sector industries in order to actively promote small start up businesses. The opening speaker promised that not only would measures aim for practical shift in the way businesses interact with innovation, but they would also make way for a cultural shift in Australia. Measures announced included dissolving the stigma of bankruptcy, adding coding lessons to the primary school curriculum, making Australia an ‘ICT tax haven’ in a manner California’s Silicon Valley, advancing silicon quantum computing technology in Australia and the creation of a digital marketplace that would allow the Australian government to procure opportunities for the smaller businesses of the public sector. One of the most meaningful measures was the incubator support program that would help businesses get off the ground (although, as one incubator owner pointed out, there were already plenty of good business startups, such as these, on the market.) However, there are were also promises that any new measures would aim to integrate existing entities.

This fear, that of overinvestment in places where there are already existing mechanisms, was a major theme in onlookers’ questions. One woman questioned, for example, the proposed linking of university research with private sector aims. She herself worked for an NGO that already undertook its own research: would they too be included in this reach for Australia? Another pointed out that she ran a non-profit that encouraged women in engineering: would her business also have a place helping this new push for an innovative population?

Questions are therefore being raised whether these measures, admirable as they might be, are truly about embracing a culture of innovation in all areas. Both within the media and in meetings such as these the question of whether these measures pushed out the arts and social sciences in favor of the traditionally ‘big bucks’ sciences has been identified again and again. Even areas of science appear to be at risk. As one onlooker pointed out that the dangers of pursuing innovation at any cost often sees damage to the environment, as has been the case in the rising outgoing market giants of the past twenty years. Arguably it is hard to meaningfully change the cultural mindset of a country without embracing all areas of interest.

Many of the proposed measures are predicted to be legislated between January 2016 and mid 2017. We will wait with interest to see which of Turnbull’s measures will be accepted in pursuit of a globally competitive Australia. NISA’s tagline,’Welcome to the ideas boom’ is certainly true as Australia begins to see a shift in its traditional market values, but which route this boom will take is still uncertain!


Read more about the government’s proposed measures HERE:


InThink>Biz Editorial Team

December 22 2015

Andrew Grant and Gaia Grant are the directors of Tirian, and authors of the breakthrough book ‘Who Killed Creativity?… And How Can We Get it Back?: Seven essential strategies for making yourself, your team and your organisation more innovative’.http://www.tirian.com/articles/leadership-task-performance/how-can-leadership-teams-find-innovative-solutions-to-sustainability-challenges/
Kate Bettes has the role of Executive Support at Tirian. She is completing a degree in international relations and aspires to be a writer on current issues.


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